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158 Cherry Blossom Trees Will Be Cut Down in DC

Smithsonian: “This spring, Washington, D.C.’s beloved cherry blossom trees reached their earliest peak bloom in more than two decades, a consequence of an abnormally warm winter, consistent with climate change trends. The blossoms around the city’s Tidal Basin reached “peak bloom” on March 17—between one and three weeks earlier than in recent years, and a full week ahead of this year’s projected peak, writes CBS News’ Li Cohen. It was the second-earliest peak bloom ever observed. Climate change is also driving yet another soon-to-arrive disruption. After the end of this spring’s National Cherry Blossom Festival, the National Park Service will cut down 158 cherry trees from the nearly 3,700 total to reconstruct a seawall around the Tidal Basin, fortifying the area against sea level rise and extreme precipitation events. Including trees of other species, about 300 will be removed. When the seawall project is complete, the park service will plant 274 new cherry blossom trees along with other species, adding to 455 trees in all. The construction will be part of a three-year, $113 million project funded by the federal government’s Great American Outdoors Act Legacy Restoration Fund. The project will raise parts of the walkway around the Tidal Basin and Potomac River, and its walls “will be high enough to withstand about 100 years of future sea level rise,” writes NPR’s Jacob Fenston…”

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